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  1. #1
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    To job hunters out there

    I keep hearing stories about people sending hundreds of resumes out and not getting a nibble, and it's no mystery to me why.

    A mind blowing number of people send the same letter and resume out to all prospective employers. They make no effort to address how their experience relates to what is being asked for. They don't learn anything about the organization. And a huge number are unqualified outright.

    The quality of most of the apps we see is abysmal. None of these have any chance of getting through. We will fail the search before we hire someone we don't expect to do a good job.

    Folks, you're totally wasting your time when you apply for things that you're not qualified for, and you severely damage your chances if you can't be bothered to put together a simple letter and a sheet or two explaining why you'd be a good match for the job.

    Aside from the fact that it tells us something about the effort we should expect you to devote once you're hired, there are qualified applicants who actually will do their homework. Plus, we won't remember you favorably if we encounter you in the future.

    And if you get an interview, take some time to figure out the organization. Prepare some thoughts so you don't come off like any 'ol rube off the street.

    Bottom line: don't bother with the shotgun approach. Target situations where you actually have a chance and play hard. You'll still fail a lot of the time, but that's your best chance by far. If you do well and still get beat out, you can bet we'll keep you in mind for the future and pass the good word to colleagues looking for talent.

  2. #2
    Your imaginary friend. fuzzbox's Avatar
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    Why do I need 2 years experience to wash dishes at a restaurant?

    Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.

  3. #3
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    So far I've been fortunate in this downtown, but in the early- to mid-90s I was laid off 4 times (from so-called "permanent" jobs).

    I always used the approach that my resume described me, and the cover letter showed why I was a good fit for the job I applied for. So for the most part I tried to include scannable bullet points on the resume that would pop out at a recruiter/HR person, and tried to tie job requirements to my past experience (as shown on the resume). The method seemed to work.

    For those of you who may recall, there was a recession in '91 so it wasn't a good job market then either, but I always managed to find a job within 4 weeks.
    I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.



    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  4. #4
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzbox View Post
    Why do I need 2 years experience to wash dishes at a restaurant?
    Is there actually a dishwashing job that requires that?

    If there is, my guess is that they're looking for someone who doesn't have an issue doing crappy jobs. Especially among those with less work experience, we see a lot of people who think that because their job is lower level, it's not important for them to try to do well. People who can do hard and miserable work for low pay are people you want to hire.

    Also, as you go down the food chain where skills required to do the job drops, the number of applicants usually increases. I've seen pools of over 100 applicants for low level tech jobs. If employers feel confident that they won't weed out all the good people, they're just as happy to work with a smaller pool since time must be spent with each application.

  5. #5
    K2ProFlex baby! ilikebikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzbox View Post
    Why do I need 2 years experience to wash dishes at a restaurant?
    I was denied a job cleaning up dog poop at a pet shop 'cause I didn't have a HS diploma.
    You see, their morals, their code...it's a bad joke, dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these...These "civilized" people...they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve

  6. #6
    Prty good at drinkn' beer SilverSurfer357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    I keep hearing stories about people sending hundreds of resumes out and not getting a nibble, and it's no mystery to me why.

    A mind blowing number of people send the same letter and resume out to all prospective employers. They make no effort to address how their experience relates to what is being asked for. They don't learn anything about the organization. And a huge number are unqualified outright.

    The quality of most of the apps we see is abysmal. None of these have any chance of getting through. We will fail the search before we hire someone we don't expect to do a good job.

    Folks, you're totally wasting your time when you apply for things that you're not qualified for, and you severely damage your chances if you can't be bothered to put together a simple letter and a sheet or two explaining why you'd be a good match for the job.

    Aside from the fact that it tells us something about the effort we should expect you to devote once you're hired, there are qualified applicants who actually will do their homework. Plus, we won't remember you favorably if we encounter you in the future.

    And if you get an interview, take some time to figure out the organization. Prepare some thoughts so you don't come off like any 'ol rube off the street.

    Bottom line: don't bother with the shotgun approach. Target situations where you actually have a chance and play hard. You'll still fail a lot of the time, but that's your best chance by far. If you do well and still get beat out, you can bet we'll keep you in mind for the future and pass the good word to colleagues looking for talent.
    Thanks Very good points and I for one could use this kick in the ass. My job is going away and I have been doing some looking\applying.

    Do you have some good examples of cover letters you can post?
    “If people were like rain, I was like drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
    ― John Green, Looking for Alaska

  7. #7
    Caustic Soccer Mom apclassic9's Avatar
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    What the OP said, PLUS: all because you showed up for class for 4 years, you are not an expert, not necessarily experienced, do not necessarily know how to work. No one is going to hire you to supervise other people. No one is going to hand you your dream job. You are entry level material, so suck it up and pay your dues for a few years.... yeah, even you law school graduates: think 100 hour work weeks for that fat check. think NO LIFE for at least 2 years.
    As with mud, life, too, slides by.

  8. #8
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    i was using a professional recruiting firm for over a year with no luck. They would occasionally ask permission to edit my cover letter and/or resume depending on the type of position. I finally saw one of their cover letters and it had grammatical errors. I'm glad they only get paid AFTER placement. I eventually found a job on my own using the techniques described by the OP
    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    BF does not have the answer to what you will be happy with.

  9. #9
    Prty good at drinkn' beer SilverSurfer357's Avatar
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    Something my SO (who looks at resumes a lot) told me was to not bother putting your resume in paragraph format. The reviewers do not have time to read it. Use a few strong bullets for each job experience.
    “If people were like rain, I was like drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
    ― John Green, Looking for Alaska

  10. #10
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    I have an interview tomorrow!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    I have an interview tomorrow!
    Make sure you wear pants!

    Couch

  12. #12
    Wheezy Rider Connell's Avatar
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    Earlier in my career, I spent a lot of time in the hiring game. Usually, HR would hand me around 50 resumes for every position (they were 'too busy' to filter them first.) I had to whittle them down to around 6 before beginning the interview process and as I really was too busy to study each one, I had to be ruthless. On my first pass, I simply looked for reasons not to consider reading further.

    Fancy fonts, typos, frou-frou paper, pictures of kids (srsly) - instant dismissal. Once I'd got the stack down to about a dozen, then I started reading them properly.

    Once we got to the interview, I went through the standard questions but was basically asking myself "Do I want this person working for me, yes or no?" It was a format that rarely steered me wrong.
    "I heard the music and I wrote to it. Some people beat drums, some people strum guitars. It's all in the music you hear" ~ Hunter S. Thompson

  13. #13
    Oscillation overthruster Dr. Banzai's Avatar
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    I too have an interview tomorrow. I will wear pants. custom cover letters aren't netting me any real results these days since most places have a detailed application process that asks you a multitude of borderline philosophical questions about you and the desire to apply to the role. Finding a job that you are suited too is easier if you target as the OP says, but if you are just looking for a payday, the shotgun approach is what everyone else is doing. Try to stand out.

    I do have an issue with professional organisations not replying to your application. I took the time to ask you if I was a fit, politely decline please.

    the real issue that we are all facing as job seekers out there (from my experience) is the abysmal pay that is out there right now. People are cheap and the law of supply and demand warrants it yes, but it still sucks. I'm making easily HALF of what I did in 2008. That has been hard to adjust to.

  14. #14
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    Whilst I do write cover letter's for each job I apply to they all say pretty much the same thing, this is the reason I don't re-write my CV anymore .. what's the point? I really don't see how you can state what experience and qualifications you have in more then one way ? apart from putting it in a different order?

    Everyone keep's churning out this piece of advice but I have 12 CV's saved on my computer each one written for a different reason some written under supervision of the job centre or college ... oddly enough they all say the exact same thing.

  15. #15
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apclassic9 View Post
    No one is going to hand you your dream job. You are entry level material, so suck it up and pay your dues for a few years....
    Dealing with BS is a huge part of any job -- there is plenty of crap to do everywhere in the food chain.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fish_man View Post
    Whilst I do write cover letter's for each job I apply to they all say pretty much the same thing, this is the reason I don't re-write my CV anymore .. what's the point? I really don't see how you can state what experience and qualifications you have in more then one way ? apart from putting it in a different order?
    If the jobs are very similar, there's no need to rewrite the resume. But if they emphasize different things, reordering or even tweaking the lingo can be worthwhile. For example, it's generally better to avoid detailed proprietary jargon -- unless you happen to know they use it where you're applying in which case it's a plus.

    The job you're applying for should inform the level of detail in sections dedicated to past experience. Don't bother to put much detail that will have little relevance where you're applying, but emphasize the aspects that will. A resume is a marketing document. You want the stuff that's most interesting to them at the top.

    Also, don't shortchange the cover letter -- that is where you make the case of why you think you're a good match. One thing you can be sure employers are interested in is why the job interests you. If this doesn't provide any substance, we can assume you're just fishing for more cash, looking for an easy ride, or just want to mark time for awhile. In other words, we won't expect a motivated person who enjoys what s/he does and we won't count on you to hang around long.

    Applicant pools for some positions are quite large and you need to distinguish yourself from the crowd. What you want to do is not only come off as being able to totally nail the job, but also convey a sense of enthusiasm. But whatever you say, make it real. If it feels phony, it will probably come off that way.

  16. #16
    Senior Member mustachiod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverSurfer357 View Post
    Something my SO (who looks at resumes a lot) told me was to not bother putting your resume in paragraph format. The reviewers do not have time to read it. Use a few strong bullets for each job experience.
    i have never read a resume in paragraph format. also never looked at second pages either. if you can't at least get it close to proper resume format, and on one page, what else do you not know how to do? next!
    Quote Originally Posted by powers2b View Post
    BF does not have the answer to what you will be happy with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fish_man View Post
    Whilst I do write cover letter's for each job I apply to they all say pretty much the same thing, this is the reason I don't re-write my CV anymore .. what's the point? I really don't see how you can state what experience and qualifications you have in more then one way ? apart from putting it in a different order?

    Everyone keep's churning out this piece of advice but I have 12 CV's saved on my computer each one written for a different reason some written under supervision of the job centre or college ... oddly enough they all say the exact same thing.
    Spend a couple minutes to modify the cover letter to match the company and job that you're applying for. A generic cover letter will read like a generic cover letter and will not get you noticed.

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    I'm so glad my days of resume slinging are over. Couple things I learned:

    1: Make your core resume a template, tailored for the job. Not doing this gets the resume reader to yawn and move to the next one in the pile.
    2: Bullet points. Paragraphs == "tl;dr -- dropped in round file"
    3: Be able to back up the points on the resume. The second an interviewer smells nitrogenous male cow waste is the second the resume gets tossed. Resume inflation is commonplace these days. It is hard balance though... too little and HR will grab a candidate that lies better. Too much and if a clued person pops the inflated resume, that is the end of that interview.
    4: Long term -- find a unique skill.

    The once piece of knowledge I paid in blood for -- specialize in something relevant. There are a lot of jack of all trades out there.

  19. #19
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine View Post
    I have an interview tomorrow!
    If the cops conduct the interview, it's an interrogation...just sayin'.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  20. #20
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
    Resume inflation is commonplace these days.
    Laundry listing huge numbers of things that you have only passing familiarity makes it look like you know very little. The smartest people I meet with are very open about what they don't know. The people who act like they know everything are invariably idiots.

    Even if such is actually the case, keep the laundry list to yourself, list the stuff they ask for (this will get you through HR) and maybe a little bit more. Bone up quickly on what interests them if you want to off well.

  21. #21
    Chepooka StupidlyBrave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    Laundry listing huge numbers of things that you have only passing familiarity makes it look like you know very little.
    Shallow. And I see lots and lots of this.

    A lot of this seems to be rotating positions to maximize the number of hats you have appeared to have worn so that your offshore consulting firm can better compete for business. In addition, many of the resumes that I have to read haven't been written by the principal. They were done by the agency that represents them. And they are encouraged to exaggerate their abilities.

  22. #22
    BF Risk Manager
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    Quote Originally Posted by mustachiod View Post
    i have never read a resume in paragraph format. also never looked at second pages either. if you can't at least get it close to proper resume format, and on one page, what else do you not know how to do? next!
    This does not apply at the executive level.
    Regards, MillCreek
    Snohomish County, Washington USA

  23. #23
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    Also job seekers,
    Due to current economic conditions,new employee salaries will be extremely discounted by dishonest corperations using the economy as a crutch.
    Hard to believe anyone would take advantage of a qualified prospect in this manner
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  24. #24
    Footballus vita est iamlucky13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
    I keep hearing stories about people sending hundreds of resumes out and not getting a nibble, and it's no mystery to me why.

    A mind blowing number of people send the same letter and resume out to all prospective employers. They make no effort to address how their experience relates to what is being asked for. They don't learn anything about the organization. And a huge number are unqualified outright.
    I increasingly suspected over my long job search that I, always diligent to understand each job I applied for and assess my own competence, was a victim of these people.

    The low response rate I got was frustrating. I like to think I was getting lost in the noise of 100+ applications per opening, rather than being deliberately culled.

    Quote Originally Posted by mlts22 View Post
    1: Make your core resume a template, tailored for the job. Not doing this gets the resume reader to yawn and move to the next one in the pile.
    I personally built up a sort of super-resume, of the hybrid type (skills and experience both, but the technique works any type). It had all my skills and work experiences on it. My latest job had around 8-10 bullet points under it. Others mostly had 4-6. I listed several dozen skills ranging from Microsoft Office (seems silly at times) to very specific professional skills like finite element analysis.

    It went easily over a page, but no one ever saw it besides me. I then had a formatted resume that fit within one page.

    When I applied for a job, I compared the job requirements and duties to my super resume's skills and experiences, selected perhaps the 10-12 most relevant skills and 2-3 duties/experiences per past job (3 jobs) and put those in my formatted resume. This is what the employer saw.

    Nothing special. It was just an easy way for me to organize and recall the information I wanted to use to tailor my resume to each job.

    It was also useful for computerized systems that required you to go through a company's resume builder (many big companies like Boeing force this upon people). I'd have all the info I wanted handy in a single document and could copy and paste much of it with minimal editing.
    "The internet is a place where absolutely nothing happens. You need to take advantage of that." ~ Strong Bad

  25. #25
    Portland Fred banerjek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamlucky13 View Post
    The low response rate I got was frustrating. I like to think I was getting lost in the noise of 100+ applications per opening, rather than being deliberately culled.
    You never know exactly what's going on. Sometimes people with mind blowing qualifications are in the pool. I've seen it happen a number of times.

    At a university I used to work for, I made it to the top 2 candidates for two jobs I applied for within a few months in national searches. Got rejected both times. The third time I got the job. I met the people who beat me.

    I would have picked them too. If you're wondering why I didn't just take a job elsewhere if I could be competitive in national searches, it was because I was geographically bound. I was just lucky to have so many positions to apply for at one place.

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